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This could be a year for homemade holiday cheer

Christmas 2008

Homemade holiday cheer

I have read many letters and columns about this Christmas, and how, due to financial hardship, there won't be the usual pile of toys for the children. This bothers parents, as they don't want to feel that their children are going without, and it becomes hard to explain what happened to Santa this year.

I would like to suggest that Christmas can manifest in many wonderful ways, and it doesn't have to rely on the latest electronic games or other expensive toys that may or may not even be appreciated. Ten years from now, they probably won't remember the $200 Whatsit, even though it meant the parents couldn't buy a new washing machine and had to go to the laundromat for a year.

It would be so nice if parents could spend some time planning a day (or day trip) to a special place that would cost very little, but would be a wonderful memory as a family. It could be a day fishing off a local pier, a picnic at the beach with volleyball and sand sculptures, flying kites, a game of softball/baseball at the local park with some neighbor kids to join in, a scavenger hunt, or a project to build something, paint something, etc.

Fun and appreciation come in all forms, and if nothing else comes to mind, volunteer as a family to go out and give service at a local church, clean up the neighborhood, visit others who can't get out — there is no end to the possibilities.

Christmas doesn't have to mean the same old expensive thing this year. Yes, many people are having a tough time financially, but make the most out of Christmas anyway, and you'll be surprised at how wonderful it can be.

Lynn Proctor, Gulfport

I'm happy to have a Sugar Daddy Dec. 14, Perspective story

A tragic message for today's young women

I was shocked by this article. Melissa Beech, the writer's pseudonym, opens her article with "Some might call it prostitution."

Well, that's exactly correct. The definition of prostitute is, "One who solicits and accepts payment for sex acts." She should not fool herself into thinking she is anything more than that. Clearly she is embarrassed by her situation as she tells no one about it except her one friend "for safety reasons." Thus her conscience tells her this is wrong.

What a horrible article to print in today's bleak economic times. What a tragic message it sends to young women around the country. Beech is a college senior. Most female college seniors are able to live well within their means. A college student does not need nor should she require $60,000 in living expenses. Women should not be encouraged to use their "wiles and charms," as she states, in this manner.

There are so many successful women in today's society who did not have to resort to prostitution to succeed. However, they did have to budget their money. That may involve sacrificing things like spa treatments, manicures, and shopping for Christian Louboutins. In the end, however, these women feel vindicated knowing they truly earned their comforts and success without compromising their bodies. This will most likely be cost-beneficial when one considers the price of the therapy that Beech will need when she finally acknowledges her poor choices.

Jennifer Cook, New Port Richey

I'm happy to have a Sugar Daddy Dec. 14, Perspective story

Base behavior

As I sit quietly on a Sunday morning reading my paper I am relieved that most young adults today don't read the newspaper, or even watch the news on television. I'm appalled that such an article as this would be printed in our local newspaper.

I have six daughters of my own and I would hate to think that I advocate this kind of behavior, for it is no more than prostitution in its basest form. Let's go live off someone, have him buy us the things we want, put us up in a wonderful apartment, with a car, and all we have to do is have sex at the appropriate times, when it doesn't get in the way of his job.

Just because she's a self-proclaimed blue blood apparently makes it all right. She has an "arrangement" that will pay off handsomely when it is done. Good for her. It says a lot about those Irish Catholic roots of hers, doesn't it?

As for the man, where did he get the idea that having a concubine was still suitable in this day and age? Oh, yeah, he just looked at the elected officials and the CEOs of the world. It amazes me that he can afford to shell out $60,000 a year for sex, for that is essentially the bargain, while most of us struggle to make ends meet.

Thank you, Times, for showing us there will always be people who have too much money and that you will be glad to make the rest of us aware of that.

Eric Harvester, Tampa

Bail out America? Employ Americans Dec. 14, Robyn Blumner column

A price too high

Robyn Blumner says we should employ Americans. Have you employed an American lately? They charge more to repair an item than it costs to buy a new foreign-made one. That is why we are the "throw-away" society.

For a century, America was the only store in town. American workers could demand anything they wanted. With the spread of technology across the globe, that is no longer possible.

One way or another, Americans are going to get poorer because no one will buy high-priced American products — not even Americans. Wal-Mart is testimony. We can meet the competition and work for less or we can go the Blumner way: Pay more for American products and do with less.

Francis J. Sullivan, St. Petersburg

Mumbai, where East meets West Dec. 14

Nations in the balance

What an exacting and extensive analysis of the greater Middle East Robert Kaplan has done. Is it as accurate as it sounds? Who knows? But it would be well to take it seriously until events prove it wrong.

The most serious problem is Pakistan and its effect on India. As Kaplan points out, the attack on Mumbai was an attempt to worsen the two countries' sensitive and dangerous relationship and probably has been effective even though India, until now, has remained relatively calm.

Pakistan finally has achieved an elected, democratic government that is notably weak compared to its former military dictatorship. This might not be important if Pakistan was not a Muslim nation with fanatical religious elements, even within its own military. It still remains to be seen if they can be controlled by the civilian government.

W.H. Riddell, Tampa

Shameful exploitation | Dec. 14, Bill Maxwell column

Cruel penny-pinching

I thank Bill Maxwell for another good column on the plight of migrant farmworkers, especially the tomato pickers. When I buy one tomato in the grocery store and pay more than a dollar for it, I wonder who gets the big profit, because the picker gets only 45 cents for a whole bucket of them.

With the economy in a downward slide, I hear people complain about the "outside" workers taking jobs from Americans. I have not heard of anyone who will do stoop labor for less than minimum wage. The tomato farmers get around this by hiring "crew leaders" who then provide the workers at obscenely low pay. This is disgraceful and it should be unlawful.

I cannot understand why the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange opposes the penny increase in pay to the workers. This injustice has been going on for a long time. Who better than the new president to put a stop to it?

Hazel L. Phipps, Treasure Island

Shameful exploitation | Dec. 14, Bill Maxwell column

End the injustice

I am appalled at the lack of a sense of justice in regard to paying the tomato pickers a fair wage — even as little as another penny. This is a justice issue, and our country is enduring enough bad press because of injustices on the part of people in high and responsible places.

It is time to be fair with the workers and their families and give them a just and living wage.

The Rev. Donald Henderson, United Church of Christ, Sarasota

This could be a year for homemade holiday cheer 12/20/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 22, 2008 11:43am]
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